Program Description

Theme: Women Empowered for Economic Revival Beyond the Pandemic and Injustice:

The Sequel to the 2020 Inaugural Africa – America Women’s Economic Forum
and Trade Expo (AAWEF)

Thursday, January 28

Essential Message

“Women collaborating for economic impact”


As a part of the 31st Annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities (ZORA!® Festival), January 25 – February 2, 2020, held in Eatonville and surrounding Orange County, FL, the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, Inc. (P.E.C.), the festival organizer, and The DOOR of Our Return Foundation (The DOOR), an economic bridge connecting African Americans to Africa for sustainable commerce and culture, collaborated to develop the Inaugural Africa – America Women’s Economic Forum and Trade Expo (AAWEF).

The program objectives were to:

  • Inaugurate a mechanism whereby African women entrepreneurs and elected officials will connect and exchange with their American counterparts through the Africa-America Women’s Economic Forum –
  • A Sustainable Trade Conversation;
  • Begin building sustainable economic relationship between Africa and American through networking and education for women entrepreneurs and elected officials;
  • Foster trade relations between Africa and America leading to access to global markets by Women Entrepreneurs; and
  • Provide a space for women to celebrate positive African culture
  • through the arts

The expected program outcomes were to:

  • Establish a network between African and American entrepreneurs and elected officials leading to a marketplace portal;
  • Provide a “Thought Leadership and Exchange of
  • Information Platform” that will economically empower women; and
  • Through the Trade Expo, create access to global markets for African Women Entrepreneurs – leading to economic growth and job creation on the Continent.

As a first-time effort, this event was successful as it established the momentum to go forward in pursuing the program objectives; and over 100 women [with a healthy cohort of men], representing government, business, and community attended.


Though Covid-19 has prevented our collaborative efforts from advancing at the pace we had projected, still there has been forward motion. For example on Monday, May 25, “Africa Day,” The DOOR coordinated a virtual meeting with the Pan Africa Parliament, with participants representing all regions of the Continent.

As the 32nd ZORA!® Festival plans to mark the 130th anniversary of Zora Neale Hurston’s birth, the P.E.C. and The DOOR Foundation will continue its collaboration by presenting a second program, a hybrid Forum, with a virtual and physical presence which will be held on Thursday, January 28, 2021. The physical presence will be governed by the prevailing city social distancing regulations and CDC guidelines.

Focus of AAWEF 2021

Building stronger relationships and sustainable economic bridge between Africa and America as women in government, business and community better connect for commerce and culture



Establishing a better understanding of the African and American governmental and economic landscape


Building a mechanism whereby African women entrepreneurs and elected officials will connect and exchange with their American counterparts through the Africa-America Women Economic Forum


Identifying potential sustainable economic relationships between Africa and America through the networking of women in government, business and community and thereby leveraging the social capital


Strengthening the bridge between Indigenous women in Africa and America as Africans seek to foster positive culture through innovative arts and entertainment

Expected Outcomes

  1. Establishing sustainable relationships through networking and exchanges;
  2. Understanding better the U.S. and Africa economic history, identifying challenges and possible
  3. Reviewing the impact of the pandemic on global supply chains and identify regional supply opportunities; and
  4. Identifying local government capacity building and exchange opportunities.

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